Blog: Commentary from the den of a pulp super-fan

‘Blood ‘n’ Thunder Presents #1: Pride of the Pulps’

Posted by at 10:00 am Wednesday, June 21, 2017 in Non-fiction, Pulps, References, Review
Estimated reading time: 2 minutes

‘Blood ‘n’ Thunder Presents #1: Pride of the Pulps’

'Blood ‘n’ Thunder Presents #1: Pride of the Pulps'Last year when the great fanzine Blood ‘n’ Thunder ended with issue #50 (actually a double issue of #49/50), we were promised that BnT would continue as a series of standalone themed books.

Well, we now have the first of these: Blood ’n’ Thunder Presents #1: Pride of the Pulps!

Pulps, of course, were usually looked down upon regarding their literary quality. But a few, very few, published stories on par with the “slick” fiction magazines. So the focus of this volume is on the handful of top all-fiction pulp magazines, Adventure, All-American Fiction, Short Stories, The Popular Magazine, Famous Fantastic Mysteries and West (just the 1920s issues), that accomplished this.

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‘The Encyclopedia of Pulp Heroes’

Posted by at 10:00 am Monday, June 5, 2017 in Hero Pulps, References, Review
Estimated reading time: 4 minutes

'The Encyclopedia of Pulp Heroes'A much needed work, Jess Nevin‘s new The Encyclopedia of Pulp Heroes (2017) is a “sequel” to his Encyclopedia of Fantastic Victoriana (2005). Now, to get his Encyclopedia, you have two choices. Get the whole thing from Amazon for the Kindle, or get four hardbacks from Lulu, with it broken up as Pulp Adventures, Fantastic Pulp Heroes, Pulp Cowboy, and Pulp Detectives. I have no idea of any plans for paperback editions.

The Encyclopedia is not a “be–all and end–all” work on pulp heroes. It’s great (and important) as a reference on the wide range of characters, and that includes pulp villains (the ones who “starred” in their own series such as Doctor Satan, Black Star, etc., as well as a very few notable foes of certain heroes). But don’t expect an exhaustive look at each character, or a source of story breakdowns. And the definition of “pulp” is pretty broad. Also included are characters outside pulp magazines (from movie serials, comic strips, but not comic books), and foreign “pulp” characters. Nothing that happens with these characters after the pulp period of 1902-45 is noted, so nothing on new works (comics, movies, reprints, new prose, etc.) is included.

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Galactic Central & the FictionMags Index

Posted by at 10:00 am Friday, April 21, 2017 in Commentary, References, Review
Estimated reading time: 3 minutes

Galactic Central & the FictionMags Index

'The Hero Pulp Index'While I was an early science-fiction fan (including pulp sf), I also got into comic books as a kid, and later started to collect them. A resource I started to obtain was the annual Overstreet Comic Book Price Guide. The first edition I got was #9 from 1979, after seeing #8 in a bookstore. But here was the thing.

I didn’t care about comic book prices. Never did.

I got Overstreet for all the other information it had that I needed as a collector. When did a title start and end? What titles got renamed or merged? How many issues did it have? What issues of a title had certain backup series? Where did certain backup series go from one title to another? Which ones had certain creators work on? And so on.

When I got into reading pulp heroes, this sort of information was missing. Or at least for me in those early pre-Internet days, was hard to find. I was oblivious to the world of fandom at the time. I only later learned about stuff like The Hero Pulp Index. So as I focused on pulp heroes, it was hard to know how many stories a particular character had. Did this serial character run for four stories or six?

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Jess Nevin’s ‘The Pulps: A History’

Posted by at 10:00 am Wednesday, March 29, 2017 in Foreign Pulps, Non-fiction, Pulps, References
Estimated reading time: 3 minutes

Jess Nevin’s ‘The Pulps: A History’

'The Pulps: A History'For those who don’t know him, Jess Nevins is probably one of the main pure researchers today in the world of pulp. And not just pulps in the U.S., but also overseas.

He has in the past maintained several websites that had information on a wide number of pulp characters. He has also put out several encyclopedic books on the topic, most out of print. He works as a research librarian, and so has access to information that most of us can only dream of.

Thankfully Nevins has shared much of that information. And his recent small book, The Pulps: A History, is but his latest.

While not flashy or the like, this small little tome provides a lot of data on the pulps that too many are either ignorant of or overlook. It seems that part of the reason for putting out this work is to correct all the misleading or inaccurate information out that. As an evocative historian in several areas, I can understand where he is coming from. I’ve tried as best I can in this blog to present as much accurate information as I can, usually hampered by what I have access to.

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‘Echoes Revisited’

Posted by at 10:10 am Wednesday, February 8, 2017 in Fanzines, G-8, Non-fiction, Phantom Detective, References, Review, Secret Agent X, The Avenger
Estimated reading time: 2 minutes

‘Echoes Revisited’

'Echoes Revisited'The fanzine Echoes ran from 1982 to 2002, before the advent of print-on-demand changed pulp fan publishing and ushered in the current New Pulp era.

Echoes was published by Tom and Ginger Johnson for 100 issues and then for a period of time it was an “newszine.” Its last new issue was Echoes Revisited, published in 2002 as a 20th anniversary special issue. This one had a color cover (The Shadow by David Burton) and special binding. There were also 100 numbered copies.

This issue celebrates Echoes with a collection of articles new and old, along with several art portfolios and photocopies of some pulp covers. Sadly, I don’t know which articles are reprints, or from where, nor where some of these articles have appeared since. The articles are grouped by their authors.

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‘Windy City Pulp Stories’ #16

Posted by at 10:00 am Wednesday, July 20, 2016 in Fanzines, Pulps, References, Reprints, Review
Estimated reading time: 2 minutes

‘Windy City Pulp Stories’ #16

"Windy City Pulp Stories" #16Once again another Windy City Pulp and Paper Convention has passed (2016), and we are blessed with a new edition of the Windy City Pulp Stories, now up to #16.

This year’s focus is on science fiction, as well as the 120th anniversary of Argosy. We get a great selection of articles, both new and reprinted in these area.

The largest set are focused on the celebration of science fiction.  And the “new” articles aren’t so new.  While they see print here for the first time, they were actually pulled together in 1979 by Robert Weinberg for a proposed tribute to Astounding on its 50th Anniversary.  Which never saw print.  Here we get a tribute by Robert Weinberg on Astounding, as well as an interview with A.E. van Vogt. Will Murray provides a couple of short, but still interesting, articles. One is an “alternate history” of early SF mags. Basically a look at what might have been. His second is a list of oddities from Astounding.

Then we get “Reflections on Science Fiction,” by Manly Wade Wellman, which tells of him getting into writing science fiction. “An Interview With Poul Anderson,” by Dave Studzinski.

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